Effects of modified Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy on relaxation, heart rate, blood pressure and flexibility
AbstractBackground: Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) promotes physiological and behavioral changes that reduce the deleterious effects of stress. However, it requires expensive equipment and is accessible to a limited number of professionals and patients. We aimed to evaluate the physiological and behavioral effects of modified REST (mREST) in healthy young women. Method: Twenty-one healthy young women (20-25 yrs) participated. mREST consists of positioning the patient floating in the pool with 32oC for about 15 minutes, for twelve sessions, with blindfolded and wearing earplugs. The evaluation was performed before and after the intervention. The analysis of the state of relaxation was investigated by a questionnaire and the self-reports were categorized. Measures of heart rate and blood pressure were used as indicators of the cardiovascular response. Flexibility, measured by the finger-to-floor test, was used as an indicator of muscle relaxation. Results: Heart rate and blood pressure significantly decreased while flexibility and relaxation increased after the sessions (p<0.001 for all comparisons). Self-reports of relaxation were consistent with the blood pressure measures and indicated that the participants showed states of relaxation associated with the decrease of blood pressure and the increase of flexibility (p<0.001 for all comparisons). Conclusion: Healthy women undergoing mREST reported relaxation, with effects on muscular and cardiovascular systems. mREST is a simple, practical and affordable option for therapy in the aquatic environment.
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